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Smart Benefits: Will Sebelius’ Resignation Improve ACA Rollout?

Monday, April 14, 2014

 

Former United States Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius

Health & Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius resigned on Friday -- giving up control over the Affordable Care Act in the process.

Under her tenure, the ACA rollout got off to a rocky start, including widespread website problems which prohibited some people from enrolling in the public exchanges and resulted in lower than projected enrollment figures.

Now, Sylvia Matthews Burwell, the director of the White House office of Management and Budget, takes over. But will a change in leadership make a difference at this point?

Rate Issues Remain

Burwell will likely face double-digit increases for the exchange rates once the carriers release the rates in May. That's even higher than what was anticipated, thanks largely to the delayed enrollment dates that allowed people to enroll later in the year at lower, locked-in rates.

Tech Still a Target

IT issues are likely to continue to plague the public exchanges. Since Sebelius wasn’t involved with the day-to-day design and implementation of the health IT initiatives, focusing her attention instead on reform, this area will continue to be problematic.

Advisors at Arms Length

Sebelius alienated the insurance industry from the beginning. Benefit advisors and brokers, those responsible for selling healthcare insurance to employers and educating their employees, were dismissed by Sebelius and President Obama. As a result, in many states, benefit advisors are not allowed to be involved with the exchanges.

Burwell Has A Tough Road Ahead

Burwell faces a daunting task: she needs to fix the problems Sebalius allowed to fester, and repair relations with an industry that should have been included at the start.

Let's hope she's up for the challenge.

Amy Gallagher has over 21 years of healthcare industry experience guiding employers and employees. As Vice President at Cornerstone Group, she advises large employers on all aspects of healthcare reform, benefit solutions, cost-containment strategies and results-driven wellness programs. Amy speaks regularly on a variety of healthcare-related topics, and is often quoted by national publications on the subject matter. Locally, Amy is a member of SHRM-RI, the Rhode Island Business Group on Health, and the Rhode Island Business Healthcare Advisory Council.

 

Related Slideshow: 13 Biggest Healthcare Stories in RI in 2013

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6 Non-Profit Hospital CEO

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Click here to read more about the announcement.

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2 Health Exchange Launch

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